The recurrent exam: cramming for something you (hope to) never use

recurrent exam

Did the layout training give you the chills? Did you cram for hours or days trying to memorize all the important equipment locations of all possible airplane types? And more importantly, are your cabin crews still stressing themselves out over this? Can we make this easier?

Useless, hopefully…

The recurrent exam is a test that – as the name dictates – keeps coming back. The same goes for the Prof Check, known as LOE and FCL-ops Check for pilots. If employees don’t pass, they are not able to do their jobs safely and cannot board the plane. Of course, this is very stressful for the entire crew. Therefore, they put all their efforts into cramming for the exam. Memorizing every little piece of information that will get them to pass the test. However, it is very hard to memorize all this information. Besides the fact that it is a lot (!) of material, it concerns information and tasks that they will probably never use. After all, we all hope that applying emergency protocols is never necessary. This doesn’t make it less important, on the contrary! But it does make it harder to memorize. This is because repetitive tasks are far more easily remembered than non-repetitive tasks. Simply because people never perform them. Still, in the heat of the moment, the crew is expected to perform safety tasks correctly. Save lives even. That is a lot of pressure…

Peak time

The exam surely makes everyone study equipment locations and their positions in case of an emergency. Right before and after the recurrent, that is. It results in temporary knowledge peaks that will quickly drop down again. This effect is hard to avoid because the brain simply forgets information when it is not repeated often. Therefore, memorizing, understanding and repetition of need-to-know information is key to creating a safe environment.

Additionally, it often happens that equipment locations change. This can happen at any time of the year and these changes do not take the date of an exam into account. Important information that people have learned, is no longer useful. That can be dangerous.

To the rescue

Luckily, nowadays there are lots of useful tools that can make your life easier and help you with learning challenges. Think of e-learning, microlearning, adaptive learning, social learning, and so on. Choose a tool that combines all of those. Go for an application that makes sure knowledge is retained, that can show proficiency levels and predict when they drop down in the future, and that allows you to make quick changes in learning materials when necessary. This way your crew knows when to brush up again and stay up to date! No more endless binders, but a timesaving application. Time that can be put to better use, like simulator training.

Furthermore, when you and your employees can keep track of proficiency levels at all times, everyone is assured that their knowledge is up to date. This, in turn, reduces stress. By regularly repeating crucial need-to-know information, the crew can take the recurrent exam with full confidence! No need for exhausted employees at the yearly training after the test, but an effective day with people able to absorb the information!

Prepare for ditching

Let pilots, cabin crew members, cargo staff and ground service crew all learn more effectively. Not only for layout training or life-threatening emergencies, but also for flight safety, unruly passengers, dangerous goods, product information, sales, and service. They will have their crucial knowledge at hand, not only for the recurrent exam but at all times. Of course, you can never fully avoid a dangerous situation, but you can help your employees to prepare better, and let’s not forget: experience less stress! After a while, people will know the layouts by heart and pass the recurrent with flying colors! When knowledge levels are demonstrably good year-round, the exam might even become obsolete… So prepare for ditching the exam, and be proficient at all times!


Drillster is exhibiting at the EATS (European Airline Training Symposium) on the 29th and 30th of October. Will you be there? We will host drinks on the 29th at 16.00h. Come and meet us at booth #507!

Want to know more about how Drillster is being used in Aviation? Check it out here!